Township of Washington, NJ
Warren County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Washington 2-10-1971. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Development regulations — See Ch. 64.
Street excavations — See Ch. 106, Art. I.
Zoning — See Ch. 123.
The Township Committee of the Township of Washington, does hereby find and determine that:
A. 
The unregulated and uncontrolled relocation, filling, excavation and removal of soil on a large scale by developers and excavators in conditions detrimental to the public safety, health and general welfare is substantially hampering and deterring the efforts of the Township of Washington to effectuate the general purpose of municipal planning.
B. 
Unregulated and uncontrolled relocation, filling, excavation and removal of soil will result in serious and irreparable damage to the public welfare by reason of consequent soil erosion by water and wind; inadequate and improper surface water drainage; the decrease in or destruction of the fertility of soil; the removal of lateral support of abutting streets, lands and premises; the creation of dust storms and mosquito breeding places; the creation of dangerous depressions or pits; the deterioration of property values; the rendering of lands unfit or unsuitable to their most appropriate uses; and the creation of other factors and elements hampering and deterring the coordinated, adjusted and harmonious physical development of the township.
As used in this chapter, the following words shall be deemed and construed to have the following meanings:
DEVELOPER
Any person who, either directly or through an agent or independent contractor, engages or intends to engage in land development or in the construction of two or more dwelling houses or business or industrial buildings, in any development for the purpose of sale to or occupancy by another person or persons.
[Amended 11-8-1978]
A. 
Any person who moves soil in or upon more than 20,000 square feet of land area in a district zoned for residential use.
B. 
Any person who moves soil in or upon more than 10,000 square feet of land area in all zones other than residential.
C. 
Any person who moves soil in excess of 300 cubic yards to, on or from any land area within the Township of Washington.
LOT
Any parcel of land or portion thereof, the boundary lines of which can be ascertained by reference to the maps and records, or either, in the office of the Tax Assessor of the Township of Washington or in the office of the Warren County Clerk. A "lot" shall also be deemed to be any contiguous parcels of land under common ownership, which ownership can be ascertained by reference to the maps and records, or either, in the office of the Tax Assessor of the Township of Washington or in the office of the Warren County Clerk.
MOVE
To dig, excavate, remove, deposit, place, fill, grade, regrade, level or otherwise alter or change the location or contour, to transport or supply. This term shall not be construed to include plowing, spading, cultivating, harrowing or discing of soil or any other operation usually and ordinarily associated with the tilling of soil for agricultural or horticultural purposes.
OWNER
Any person seized in fee simple of any lot or having such other interest or estate therein as will permit exercise of effective possession thereof or dominion thereover.
PERSON
Any individual, firm, association, partnership or corporation, or any group of two or more of them.
SOIL
Any earth, sand, clay, loam, gravel, humus, rock or dirt, without regard to the presence or absence therein of organic matter.
TOPSOIL
Soil that, in its natural state, constitutes the top layer of earth and is composed of 2% or more, by weight, of organic matter and has the ability to support vegetation.
A. 
No developer and no excavator shall move or cause, allow, permit or suffer to be moved, any soil in or upon any lot in the Township of Washington unless and until a soil permit therefor shall first have been issued by the Zoning Officer of the Township of Washington.
B. 
No owner of any lot in the Township of Washington shall cause, allow, permit or suffer any soil in or upon such lot to be moved by any developer or excavator until such developer or excavator has first obtained a soil permit therefor.
The matter of reviewing and considering all applications for soil permits is hereby referred to the Planning Board of the Township of Washington. The Zoning Officer of the Planning Board shall issue no soil permit until the Planning Board approves the same and submits to him its report and recommendation.
The procedure for applying for and issuance of a soil permit shall be as follows:
A. 
Form of application. On forms prescribed and supplied by the Planning Board, the applicant shall set forth in triplicate:
(1) 
His name and address.
(2) 
The description of the lands in question.
(3) 
The name and address of the owner of the lands.
(4) 
The purpose or reason for moving the soil and whether it will be done in connection with a proposed development; if so, the date of filing of the application for development.[1]
[Amended 11-8-1978]
[1]
Editor's Note: For provisions pertaining to the filing of applications for development, including subdivisions of land, see Ch. 64, Development Regulations.
(5) 
The kind and quantity, in cubic yards, of soil to be moved.
(6) 
In the case of removal, the place to which the soil is to be removed and the kind and quantity of soil to be removed.
(7) 
The proposed date of completion of the work.
(8) 
A certification that he has placed, or caused to be placed, stakes at each corner of the lands from which soil is to be removed, and further that he has placed or caused to be placed grade stakes at the existing elevation points designated on the topographical map pursuant to the provisions of Subsection C hereof, clearly marked to indicate the soil cuts or fill.
(9) 
Such other pertinent data as the Planning Board may, by resolution, hereafter require.
B. 
Signature. Said application shall bear the signature of the applicant and the endorsement of the owner or owners of said lands signifying approval of the application, consent to the applicant to perform the proposed work and consent to the Township of Washington, in the event of failure of the applicant to do so, to cause the proposed work to be completed or otherwise terminated in keeping with the purposes and objectives of this chapter.
C. 
Topographical map. Accompanying the application shall be eight prints of a topographical map of the lot upon which the proposed soil moving operations are to be conducted and of all surrounding lands within 200 feet of the perimeter of said lot, prepared and certified by a licensed professional or civil engineer of the State of New Jersey, on a scale of not less than one inch to 100 feet and referred to United States Coast and Geodetic Survey Data showing both, as to the lot and as to all of said surrounding lands:
(1) 
The dimensions of the lot and the block number of the lot and of each lot in the surrounding lands as shown on the Tax Assessment Map of the Township of Washington.
(2) 
The existing elevations of all lands on a one-hundred-foot grid layout.
(3) 
The existing elevations of all buildings, structures, streets, streams, bodies of water and watercourses, natural or artificial.
(4) 
All existing surface and/or subsurface water drainage conditions and provision therefor.
(5) 
All wooded areas and all trees having a diameter of 6 inches or more at the base.
(6) 
The limits of the area or areas within the lot or lots in question within which the soil moving operations are to be conducted and the existing elevations of said limits at intervals of not more than 100 feet.
(7) 
The proposed final elevations at least point where existing elevations shown on said map are to be changed as a result of completion of the proposed work.
(8) 
Proposed slopes and lateral supports at the limits of the area upon completion of the soil moving operations.
(9) 
Proposed provisions and facilities for surface water drainage and, where applicable, channels of any streams, bodies of water and watercourses, natural or artificial, including detailed cross sections showing proposed channel widths, bank slopes and method of erosion and control thereof.
(10) 
Accurate cross sections showing the locations and quantities, in cubic yards, of soil to be moved.
(11) 
All proposed elevations in enclosed rectangular boxes and all existing elevations to be indicated without any kind of enclosure.
(12) 
Such other pertinent data as the Planning Board may, by resolution require.
D. 
Filing fee. The application shall be submitted to the Zoning Officer of the Planning Board with a fee to the order of the Township of Washington in an amount computed at the rate of $0.05 per cubic yard multiplied by the number of cubic yards to be moved, as stated in the application and certified on the topographical map; provided, however, that in no event shall such fee be less than $75.
E. 
Inspection. The Township Engineer shall make an inspection of the site from which soil is to be moved and shall make such engineering studies as may be required to determine the effect of the removal of soil from the location as it relates to soil erosion by water and wind, surface and subsurface water drainage, soil fertility, lateral support of abutting streets and lands, public health and safety and such other factors as may bear upon or relate to the coordinated, adjusted and harmonious physical development of the township. He shall also inspect the aforesaid site to determine whether stakes have been placed on each corner thereof and whether grade stakes have been placed at the existing elevation points designated on the topographical map pursuant to the provisions of Subsection C hereof. In the event of refusal of the soil permit as hereinafter provided, the fee paid by the applicant shall be refunded, except that all moneys and costs incurred by the Township of Washington for engineering surveys and reports, inspection fees and legal fees shall be retained by the township, and the balance remaining shall be refunded to the applicant, together with a statement of the costs and expenses incurred by the Township of Washington in the processing of the soil application.
F. 
Hearing. The Planning Board shall, within a reasonable time after receipt of the application, fix a date for a hearing for the purpose of considering the application and shall give to the applicant, by registered mail, notice of the time and place of said hearing. The applicant shall, at least five days prior to the date appointed for said hearing, serve written notice, either in person or by registered mail, upon such persons as are shown by the assessment rolls of the Township of Washington to be the owners of such lots as are within 200 feet of the property in question. The applicant shall, at the hearing, present to the Planning Board satisfactory proof, in affidavit form, of the service of said notices.
G. 
Decision. The Planning Board shall review and consider the application and shall render its report and recommendations to the Zoning Officer, who shall grant or refuse the permit in accordance with the recommendation. Such report and recommendation shall be made within 60 days after the receipt of the application.
H. 
Appeal. In the event of refusal, the applicant may, not later than 30 days after the date of such refusal, appeal to the Township Committee. The Township Committee may by a majority vote, sustain or by a two-thirds vote of its entire membership overrule the Planning Board recommendations.
I. 
The soil permit shall be in such form as may be prescribed by the Planning Board, shall be signed by the Zoning Officer of the Planning Board and either the Chairman of the Planning Board or the Chairman of the Soil Committee of the Planning Board and shall contain any special conditions set forth in the recommendation.
J. 
The soil permit shall be dated as of the date it is actually issued, and the term of said permit shall not exceed one year. All permits shall automatically expire on the termination date, unless application for renewal has been made and approved in writing extending such permit.
In considering and reviewing the application, the Planning Board shall be guided by the general purpose of municipal planning and shall take into consideration the following factors:
A. 
Soil erosion by water and wind.
B. 
Surface and/or subsurface water drainage.
C. 
Soil fertility.
D. 
Lateral support of abutting streets and lands.
E. 
Public health and safety.
F. 
Land values and uses.
G. 
Such other factors as may bear upon or relate to the coordinated, adjusted and harmonious physical development of the township.
No person to whom a soil permit has been issued shall:
A. 
Conduct or maintain on the premises any sand, gravel or similar kind of pit, any sand or gravel washing or screening machinery or equipment, any business or industry not permitted in the district in which said premises are located and classified by Township of Washington Zoning Ordinance as amended and supplemented,[1] or any endeavor or enterprise other than the grading or regrading of said premises, in accordance with the provision of said permit, and where applicable, the necessary disposal of soil incidental to said grading or regrading.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 123, Zoning.
B. 
Conduct or maintain any soil moving operations without having first made adequate provision, by means of road oil or otherwise, for the laying of dust incidental to the use of vehicles, machinery and equipment on the lands described in the soil permit.
C. 
Neglect to dispose of, on or before the completion date stated in the application, any partially or wholly excavated boulders or other incombustible debris resulting from the soil moving operations, by burial or removal, or any partially or wholly excavated stumps, felled or uprooted trees or other combustible debris resulting from the soil moving operations, by combustion or removal from the premises.
D. 
Conduct any soil moving operations beyond the expiration date as set forth in the soil permit or the extended expiration date as may duly be granted by the Planning Board.
A. 
Whenever any developer or excavator shall move topsoil in or upon any lot, provision shall be made for the storage of said topsoil within the boundary lines of said lot.
B. 
Except as hereinafter provided, all of the topsoil so stored shall be uniformly replaced over the entire area or surface of the lot on or before the completion date set forth in the soil permit, so that the final grade or grades of said replaced topsoil shall be in accordance with the proposed final grades shown on the topographical map.
C. 
No developer or excavator shall remove to any point beyond the boundary lines of the lot any topsoil whatsoever unless and until topsoil not inferior in quality to that to be removed shall first have been replaced uniformly to a depth of not less than six inches, measured from the proposed final grades as shown on the topographical map, over the entire surface or area of the lot, excepting only such portions thereof as shall be or shall have become, since the date of filing of said topographical map, permanently covered by a building or structure, street pavement, curb, sidewalk, driveway or other paved area or by any body of water or waterway. In no event shall the developer or excavator remove from the lot more topsoil than that comprising the surplus or excess remaining after the replacement of the topsoil aforesaid.
No developer or excavator shall, at any time in the course of the work, dig or excavate more than six inches below the proposed final grades as shown on the topographical map unless:
A. 
The soil permit specifies otherwise, and the performance bond hereinafter referred to makes specified provision for replacement, on or before the completion date set forth in the soil permit, of soil of sufficient quantity and kind to restore the final grades to those shown on the topographical map; or
B. 
After issuance of the soil permit, the developer or excavator, before digging or excavating below said minimum level, shall apply to the Planning Board and be granted an amendment of the application and topographical map then in effect, which amendment may be granted upon such terms as the Planning Board may deem necessary to assure adherence to the purpose and objectives of this chapter.
No developer or excavator shall deposit soil upon, fill in or raise the grade of any lot without first making provision for:
A. 
The use in said work of soil or such other materials as will not result in deviation from the proposed final grades of the uniformity thereof by reason of abnormal shrinkage or settlement.
B. 
The collection and storage upon the lot of the original topsoil, to the end that said topsoil shall not be buried beneath soil or other material of inferior quality, and the uniform replacement of the topsoil so stored over the entire area or surface of the fill soil or other material, so that the final grade or grades of said replaced topsoil shall be in accordance with the proposed final grades shown on the topographical map. In the event that such provision is not practicable, provision shall be made for the uniform placement over the entire area or surface of the fill soil or other material, except any such portions thereof as shall be or shall have become permanently covered by a building or structure, street, pavement, curb, sidewalk, driveway or other paved area or by any body of water or waterway, of a layer of topsoil not inferior in quality to that of the original topsoil to the depth of not less than six inches, measured from the proposed final grades as shown on the topographical map.
A. 
In the event that the Planning Board recommends approval of the soil removal application, the Zoning Officer of the Planning Board shall forthwith give notice to the applicant of the action of the Board and, further, the amount of the performance bond required as hereinafter set forth. In the event that the applicant fails to post the required performance bond within 60 days of said notice, then the recommendation of the Planning Board shall be automatically rescinded.
B. 
No soil permit shall be issued unless the applicant therefor shall have posted with the Township of Washington a performance bond in form and with surety acceptable to the Township of Washington, in such amount as the Planning Board shall determine, conditioned upon full and faithful performance by the principal, within the time specified in the application, of all the proposed work in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and of the soil permit issued pursuant hereto.
C. 
The amount of said bond shall be determined at the rate of not less than $0.10 per cubic yard and not in excess of $0.50 per cubic yard of the amount of soil to be moved; provided, however, that in no event shall said bond be less than the principal amount of $2,000. In ascertaining the rate upon which to compute the amount of the bond, the Planning Board shall take into consideration such factors as may bear upon the facility with which the proposed work may be performed, including but not limited to the type and character of soil, the extent of the area over which the soil moving operations are to be conducted, the extent and depth of the various cuts and fills, the extent to which the area of operations is wooded, the proximity of the proposed operations to streets, buildings, structures, natural or artificial streams or watercourses and general drainage conditions.
D. 
Before the holder of any soil permit shall proceed before the Planning Board with any application for any amendment or alteration of the terms and conditions of any outstanding soil permit, there shall be submitted to the Planning Board the written consent of the surety on said bond approving said application for amendments or alteration and consenting to extension of the bond coverage thereto.
E. 
Applications for the release of any bonds posted in accordance with the terms of this chapter and/or the resolutions of the Planning Board shall be accompanied by an affidavit stating that the soil moving operation has been completed in accordance with the application and all plans, maps and other data filed therewith and in accordance with all resolutions and conditions therein adopted by the Planning Board. Said affidavit shall be executed by a licensed professional or civil engineer of the State of New Jersey.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to affect or apply to any person engaged in the moving of soil in and upon lands enrolled in the Soil Conservation Program of the Northeastern Jersey Soil Conservation District of the United States Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service, and for which lands an approved farm plan has been established by said agency, provided that all soil moving operations in and upon such lands are performed in accordance with said approved farm plan.
For the purpose of administering and enforcing this chapter, any duly authorized officers, agent or employee of the Township of Washington shall have the right to enter into and upon any lands in or upon which soil moving operations are being conducted to examine and inspect such lands.
[Amended 11-8-1978]
Any person who shall violate this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, pay a fine not exceeding $500 or be imprisoned in the county jail for a term not exceeding 90 days, or both, for each offense, in the discretion of the court. Each day that a violation shall continue shall constitute a separate offense.